La salud auditiva de los jóvenes en peligro

Según la OMS, en 2050 más de 1.100 millones de jóvenes sufrirán problemas auditivos por una exposición a ruidos elevados.

Los jóvenes prefieren realizar sus actividades diarias acompañados por música, como estudiar o hacer deporte.

Según un nuevo estudio, los problemas auditivos afectan al cerebro y pueden llegar a derivar en problemas neurológicos como demencia o Alzheimer.

Hace apenas unos días la OMS alertaba de que para el año 2050 una de cada diez personas sufriría problemas de audición. Además, el organismo ponía el foco en los jóvenes, revelando que la mitad de las personas entre 12 y 35 años en todo el mundo, es decir, 1.100 millones de jóvenes, corren el riesgo de ver deteriorada su capacidad auditiva por una exposición a ruidos elevados durante un tiempo prolongado.

Según el I Estudio de hábitos de cuidado auditivo, realizado por GAES, demuestra que la problemática deriva de una mayor tendencia a incorporar el sonido en las actividades diarias, especialmente las personas jóvenes.

Por su parte, un nuevo estudio italiano[1] ha demostrado el vínculo existente entre la audición y el cerebro, según el cual los problemas auditivos pueden aumentar las probabilidades de sufrir enfermedades neurológicas.

El sonido, cada vez más presente en la rutina de los jóvenes

Existe una correlación entre la edad y la frecuencia con la que una persona está expuesta a sonidos de forma voluntaria. Según el I estudio de hábitos de cuidado auditivo realizado por GAES, los jóvenes prefieren realizar sus actividades diarias con sonido. Por ejemplo, los datos reflejan que el 50% de las personas entre 25 y 34 años prefieren trabajar con música. Del mismo modo, los jóvenes entre 18 y 34 años escogen estudiar con música, el 62% prefiere relajarse con sonido en lugar de hacerlo en silencio y un 93% realiza deporte escuchando música. “Existe una creciente tendencia a incorporar el sonido en las actividades diarias, especialmente en los jóvenes entre 18 y 24 años. Si a esto le sumamos que también es el sector de la población que más acostumbra a utilizar cascos para escuchar música, nos encontramos ante un aumento del tiempo a la exposición de sonido y a niveles superiores a los recomendados”, explica el Dr. Juan Royo, doctor en otorrinolaringología. De hecho, 4 de cada 10 jóvenes del mismo rango de edad reconoce escuchar música a un volumen alto, por encima de los 60 decibelios recomendados.

La estrecha relación entre los problemas auditivos y las enfermedades neurológicas

Un estudio italiano publicado recientemente ha demostrado que la audición y el cerebro colaboran activamente entre sí. Mediante imágenes cerebrales, la investigación comprobó que los problemas auditivos crean daños metabólicos en las vías auditivas centrales, ubicadas en el cerebro, debido a un menor suministro de sangre. Esto provoca alteraciones en la red neurológica, que a su vez pueden derivar en dificultades para comprender el significado de las palabras y exponerse al riesgo de enfermedades como demencia y Alzheimer. Por lo tanto, no es sorprendente que 8 de cada 10 personas confiesen que su pérdida auditiva tiene efectos negativos en la calidad de vida y que la audición no tratada aumente la probabilidad de demencia y otros problemas psicológicos como la depresión.

La falta de atención a la salud auditiva, un problema a resolver  

A este aumento de la exposición a los sonidos en el día a día hay que sumarle la falta de concienciación sobre la importancia de la salud auditiva. Según el estudio elaborado por GAES, el 89% de los españoles reconoce prestar poca atención a sus oídos. En este sentido, casi 3 de cada 10 jóvenes nunca se ha hecho una revisión auditiva. “Los jóvenes son quienes menos atención prestan a su salud auditiva porque, en la mayoría de los casos, la pérdida auditiva asociada a la exposición de sonidos de forma prolongada no tiene un efecto inmediato. De hecho, no es hasta los 55 años cuando la población empieza a tomar más conciencia de las revisiones periódicas”, indica el Dr. Royo.   

Por otro lado, un reciente estudio[2] realizado en España informa que la edad media de los pacientes que acuden a una consulta de Otorrinolaringología es de 45 años y un 55% son mujeres. Asimismo, el 46% de los pacientes que acudieron lo hacen por problemas de oído. Dentro de este grupo, el síntoma más frecuente es la hipoacusia (39,8%), seguido de los mareos (16,5%), otalgia o dolor de oído (14,2%), y acúfenos (11,8%).

La prevención, clave para evitar problemas auditivos

GAES recomienda 8 consejos para cuidar la audición, comunicarse efectivamente con otras personas y tener una vida social activa:

  1. Realizar revisiones auditivas periódicas después de los 30 años, especialmente si existen antecedentes familiares de pérdida auditiva o inflamación (otitis).
  2. Mantener el volumen de los reproductores de música y smartphones a niveles seguros que permitan escuchar los sonidos que nos rodean.
  3. Utilizar auriculares y cascos por un corto período de tiempo.
  4. Revisar el prospecto de los medicamentos para asegurarse de que no tienen efectos ototóxicos.
  5. Distanciarse de fuentes de ruido como altavoces.
  6. Utilizar protecciones para los oídos en ambientes ruidosos como estadios y conciertos.
  7. Someterse a revisiones auditivas en caso de sufrir tinnitus o vértigos.
  8. En caso de pérdida auditiva, es recomendable someterse a un proceso de rehabilitación auditiva continuo mediante el uso de dispositivos auditivos de última generación y la cooperación activa con un audiólogo y un especialista en audífonos.

[1]Cortical pattern of reduced perfusion in hearing loss revealed by ASL-MRI, Ponticorvo et al., Hum Brain Mapp. 2019;1–13, January 2019.

[2] TENOR-SERRANO R, de-la-PLATA-SÁNCHEZ C, COLOMO-RODRÍGUEZ N, CONDE-JIMÉNEZ M, OLIVA-DOMÍNGUEZ M. Motivos de consulta de pacientes atendidos en un servicio de ORL en un hospital de segundo nivel. Revista ORL [Internet]. 24 jun 2016 [citado 26 feb 2019]; 7(4): 205-210. Disponible en: http://revistas.usal.es/index.php/2444-7986/article/view/14638

 

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